Blogging through the COVID-19 crisis: Update 1

Excuse the absence, friends. It’s been a hot minute few days. A lot can change in a week. The Coronavirus just shut down the world. Last week, when things still felt relatively normal, feels like a lifetime ago.

I often do a lot of my blog writing on the weekend, but to be honest, the words didn’t come last weekend. I’ve been struggling with the idea of blogging as usual. I’d really love to pretend that life is normal right now, but by all accounts, it isn’t. This COVID-19 situation is serious and things have escalated over the last few days, and so have my feelings around it.

As of last night, the state of California is under a mandatory stay at home order. We are still allowed to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and get out for a run/walk (which is saving my sanity), but that’s pretty much it. 

Does anyone else feel like Mother Nature is forcing a hard reboot on us right now? That she’s trying to tell us something? Like, putting all the bullies in timeout and forcing us all to sit down on our asses and think about our behavior. 

But wait, let’s back up. Can I first ask you: how are you doing? How have you experienced the last few day?

We’re okay, considering the circumstances. These last couple of days were a little rough emotionally, but really, we’re fine, nobody’s sick (if you disregard the occasional phantom cough, of course, that sends you spiraling down the rabbit hole. Not trying to be dramatic or anything.) and the biggest change I am adjusting to right now is working from home. 

Mostly, I’ve just had this feeling in the pit of my stomach all week and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I figured it out: the feeling is ‘uncertainty’. What is happening right now is unprecedented and the not-knowing and mixed messages from (some of) our world leaders are infuriating. I am usually a half-glass-full kinda person and I am always looking at the bright side of things, but we have entered such unchartered territories here, and this, of course, feels scary.

So, if you are feeling just a bit anxious right now, let me assure you, you are not alone. The situation we’re all collectively in is a lot to process.

As mentioned, on Tuesday, we were all asked to work from home. While I have occasionally taken my laptop home to finish a project, working from home is not something that I do regularly. And yet, it feels like the right thing to do given the situation. I am glad that my work allows for it, that my current project work is doable from home. Others are not so lucky. These are scary times for many of us, not just because we’re threatened by a disease, but also by existential worries. Businesses are closed (some indefinitely), people are – as a result – laid off amidst this crisis.

Jon, who deals with anxiety, has been surprisingly calm. His anxiety has not latched on to it (yet), and I really hope it won’t. He’s been very rational about it all and it helps me a bit, because I feel that it’s been affecting me more right now. I am not usually an anxious person, but the other day, after a 10-hour work day, I fell asleep on the couch right after dinner. I just felt drained.

There is an onslaught of information – some more helpful and concise than other – and it’s really hard to parse and dissect it all. 

But in this time of uncertainty, I feel like there is one thing we can all do that feels logical right now: stay home. If you don’t go out (much, except for necessary things), there is less of a chance to come in contact with the virus, and thus getting it and/or spreading it to others. Plain and simple.

Washing your hands, not touching surfaces in public, keeping a distance from people, not touching your face, and staying at home as much as possible are the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

I often lament the fact that friends and family are far away, but in this situation it’s oddly comforting to not have to worry about being a possible point of transmission. Jon and I don’t interact with huge crowds of people on any regular day, so “social distancing ourselves” doesn’t feel like such a huge burden for us and I am happy to do it. We’re lucky that we don’t have to deal with wrangling/homeschooling any kids right now, that I can work from home and won’t lose my income. 

But of course, I still worry. I worry about my family and friends (so very far away), about elderly people, about people in high risk groups. 

If you can stay home, do it. If you can keep yourself away from other people, do it. Do your part to stop spreading the virus, which will help preserve precious medical resources and keep us all safer. And above all, be kind to each other. We’re all going through a lot right now.  

Forgive my rambling. This is just a stream of consciousness post after not being able to get anything on digital paper for the last week. Seeing others write down their thoughts and feelings of coping with our new reality has encouraged me to do the same. I assume blogging will look a little different for all of us going forward, but I encourage you to stay connected, and please know that I am happy to read about everything that is going on in your part of this – right now justifiably crazy – world.

It all feels a bit like the Twilight Zone, doesn’t it?

Maybe, when this is all over (and I hope it will be over and without too many personal hardships), we’ll all laugh about how silly we were to forget the things that really matter in life.

Let’s keep positive, friends. We can do hard things.

  1. I was doing fine until yesterday when my anxiety kicked in and I went into a full blown panic attack. Today is the same. I’m not worried about getting sick and dying – I’m worried about what comes after. What happens when, or if, we come out of this? Not a single nation has an exit strategy.

  2. It’s crazy that the whole world is impacted and yes, I do believe Mother Nature is giving us a very big hint here….
    Well, you know about my health journey so far …. it doesn’t for sure not feel like we are living in a first world country. Very very sad!
    Hope everybody stays healthy and we all get through this!

  3. I am hoping that this virus will change our society for the better. It is forcing us to slow down, to stop and think. It shows how vulnerable we are.
    Also, there is less pollution due to fewer flights, less driving and less overall consumption. It made me think of Greta – the virus has achieved some of the things she was fighting for.

  4. Yes, I have tried to remain calm, but my anxiety has been pretty bad. Fortunately, this causes me to go to sleep really early from exhaustion and fatigue.
    We are in a mandatory lockdown. I have kept Jack in for the last two weeks. He is truly full of anxiety. At 82 he feels that if he gets this, he is dead.
    Stay safe, stay healthy.

  5. I feel you so hard on the “phantom cough”. I have been dealing with a dry cough much of the past week… but mysteriously it comes on more often when I feel stressed or anxious… then when I am distracted it goes away. I think we’re all so wary of this right now, I think the most important thing we can do for our immune system is relax and be calm. Glad to hear you two are doing okay so far :)

  6. I feel you with all of this. Hang in there and try to figure out a new routine that keeps you sane.
    We are also not interacting much with big crowds and the social distancing is nothing I have a huge problem with at all I have reduced my daily walks but Might do a few to get some exercise and fresh air. It will be a challenge with being home all day together as we never have some “Me time” and when anxiety kicks in. So far it’s manageble.

  7. I had a couple rough days a week ago, just my anxiety/depression getting to me, but I’ve been a bit calmer since then. It’s still nerve wracking though and the uncertainty of it all really does make it worse. I just hope that things can get back to as normal as possible as soon as possible. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with slowing down for a bit though, but I also know that this type of self-quarantining is not healthy for everyone with mental health issues, and I fear for those people – as well as those that are older, who are high risk (like my mom and sister), and just everyone having to deal with this new normal.


  8. I’m glad you’re blogging through this, as well. It’s an unprecedented time and we’re all dealing with it in different ways. BTW, I had a dry cough I couldn’t get rid of for a few hours yesterday and was convinced I had COVID-19. I… think I was just thirsty. ;) It’s amazing what your mind can do to you!

    I’m glad you’re able to work from home and that J has been a calming presence in your life right now. It’s a scary time because there is so many unknown factors, both for our health and our economy. And it’s scary because our president is not the leader we need right now. He’s continuing to spread lies and took way too damn long to take this pandemic seriously. That’s what makes all of this even more frightening.

  9. I’ve definitely been feeling anxious. I just have this pit of anxiety in my stomach. I’m in the high risk group so I’ve been worried about potentially getting COVID-19 and getting really sick. And then I’ve worried about the impact to the economy and my industry. My industry was already struggling before this. But I remind myself that this is why we live so conservatively and save.

    Hang in there, San! I’m so glad you are able to work from home! I feel so bad for people who are out of work due to the closures.

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